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Saturday, June 18, 2011

Librarywala Interviews: Komal Mansoor - The Review Girl

In a first, Librarywala interviews a fellow book blogger, Komal Mansoor (Komz) of The Review Girl. Komz reviews everything that interests her – mainly books, movies & celebrities.

Here’s a little about Komal and her blog in her own words:

“Being a person who has views on almost everything, I wanted to keep it(the blog) open, so I can share my raves and rants on anything that I find worth analyzing.”

Here’s more from the interview:

Librarywala (LW) – Ok, so Komal, tell us since when have you been blogging now?

Komal Mansoor (KM) : I started my blog, The Review Girl, about two months ago, but I have been blogging since 2006 . It actually started when the editor of The Nation (one of the top English dailies of Pakistan) gave me an assignment to write a “cover story” for their Sunday supplement on “blogging”.

(LW) – Well, that’s quite commendable. So what all falls under your blogging umbrella?

visit The Review Girl's Blog -
(KM) : Well, when I started The Review Girl, I wanted to review books, music, movies, celebs and travel reviews. I believe “variety is the spice of life” and I try my best to provide diverse range of posts to my readers.
I have also started a new feature on my blog, “Be My Guest”. It features, author interviews and guest posts as well as blogger interviews. I am also planning my first international giveaway. So, keep reading my blog to know when it’s up! 

(LW) - How do you go about reviewing books? How deep do you delve into them? Elaborate a little on your style.

Komal's reviews on..

(KM) : I read each and every page of the book to get a thorough idea of how it is written and what the book is about. I also make notes while reading the book. My style is a detailed analysis of the characters, theme/plot, storyline, author’s style of writing, beginnings, endings, pretty much everything that I can dissect. I love reading books and enjoy the whole process of reviewing them on my blog.

(LW) - Can you share a unique experience you’ve had while blogging?

(KM) : It is always a great moment if an author of a bestselling book contacts you and tells your review was great. I read this great memoir “Unimagined” by Imran Ahmad and reviewed it on my blog. The readers can read it by clicking here. Few days back, I found his email saying that he loved my review! He also mentioned that his publishing house will be putting a post about my review.

(LW) - How is your relationship with your followers?

(KM) : It is a wonderful bitter-sweet relationship. I have got immense support & encouragement from all my followers. I think knowing someone through blogs is unique because it is distant and personal at the same time. You don’t see bloggers in person, so you tend to be unbiased towards their appearance. When you know someone through their blog, you get to know their brilliant mind & their pure soul. You judge them for what they are, and not how they look!

Review Girl Visitors


(LW) - That’s quite some thought. Tell us, how do you find the Librarywala concept?

(KM) : I think it is an excellent concept. Having lived in various places for four years in India, I know that in many cities in India, there are not extensive libraries available for students/readers. In this scenario, the vast online selection and rental facility being provided through Librarywala portal gives them the chance to rent their choice of books. Also, since they do not have to spend a lot to buy books, they can just rent and enjoy the bundle of books through Librarywala rental service.

(LW) - Your views on the blog & articles? A post that may have sought your interest in particular?

(KM) : There is a wonderful array of articles on the Librarywala blog. I really liked the article on the various types of readers. It made me realize I am sponge! *laughs*

(LW) - What kind of articles would you like us to add? Any suggestions/ changes you have in mind for our blog?

(KM) : It looks great already as far as content is concerned! Maybe that is why I instantly became one of your followers! Though a more elegant design would give it a further boost!

I would love to see articles which are informative and throw some light on famous writers, debut authors, so that the readers like me can know some random and quirky facts about them.

(LW) - Allright, Thanks a ton Komal for taking the time out to do the interview. It was a pleasure speaking to you. And we shall definitely consider the suggestions you offered.

(KM) : I would like to thank Librarywala for interviewing me and taking interest in my blog. I had great fun answering the questions!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Librarywala Recommends: 5 Must Read Biographies

Here’s a list of 5 autobiographies/biographies of marvelous people that readers would love – they have some interesting titles, and even more interesting stories unfolding within the pages.

1. Losing my Virginity - Richard Branson:


Maverick - the one word that explains the founder of  the Virgin Group. In his autobiography, Richard Branson says one of his prime business criteria is "fun." Not only does he share his near-death corporate experiences, but also reveals how he literally cheated death by gun, shipwreck, and balloon crash.

2. It's Not About the Bike - Lance Armstrong 


Lance Armstrong, the absolute survivor. People around the world find inspiration in the story of Lance Armstrong--a world-class athlete nearly struck down by cancer, only to recover and win the Tour de FranceArmstrong is a thoroughgoing jock. The changes brought to his life by his illness are startling and powerful, but he's just not one to give up.

There's medical detail here, which may not be for the faint of heart; from chemo to surgical procedures. Athletes and coaches everywhere will benefit from the same extraordinary detail provided about his training sessions. It's Not About the Bike is the perfect title for this book about life, death, illness, family, setbacks, and triumphs.

3. The Diary of Anne Frank 


Anne Frank received a blank diary on her 13th birthday, weeks before she and her family went into hiding in Nazi-occupied Amsterdam. Her marvelously detailed entries chronicle 25 trying months of claustrophobic, quarrelsome intimacy with her parents, sister, a second family, and a middle-aged dentist. The diary's universal appeal stems from its riveting blend of the grubby particulars of life during wartime and candid discussion of emotions familiar to every adolescent. Yet Frank was no ordinary teen: the later entries reveal a sense of compassion and a spiritual depth remarkable in a girl barely 15. 

4. The Motorcycle Diaries - Ernesto "che" Guevara


The setting in the South American landscape gives the book a charisma that is decidedly apolitical. But this portrait of the young Che Guevara is quietly passionate. Guevara and his friend Alberto Granadoset off from Buenos Aires, hoping to circumnavigate the continent on a leaky motorcycle. They end up travelling more by foot, hitchhiking, and raft, but their experience of the land and the people affects them profoundly. The book ends with a declaration by Guevara, born into an upper middle class family, displaying his willingness to fight and die for the cause of the poor, and his dream of seeing a united Latin America.No book could affect an audience the same way, but The Motorcycle Diaries gives a soulful glimpse of an awakening social conscience, and that's worth experiencing.

5. The Second Coming of Steve Jobs:

(Biography by Alan Deutschman)

This fast-paced business biography about Steve Jobs, the ultimate disciplinarian is based on interviews with nearly 100 of his associates and friends. One glaring absence, however, is Jobs himself.  Deutschman reports that Jobs's resuscitation of Apple, was accomplished through a "reign of terror". He delves further into the life of the vegetarian billionaire who thrives on scarcity and adversity. Though this gossipy bio has a slick magazine feel, Deutschman gets closer to Jobs's inner self than any previous attempt. 

So that's about some famous people - what about you? If you were to write an autobiography, what would it be called?